Fibonacci Basket Weaving






Leonardo of Pisa (c. 1170 – c. 1250),most commonly, most commonly known as Fibonacci, was an Italian mathematician, considered by some "the most talented mathematician of the Middle Ages". His book Liber Abaci was responsible for getting the western world to move off Roman numerals and use the Hindu-Arabic numeral system that we use today.

In his book, he solve the hypothetical problem of calculating the idealized breeding rate of rabbits. You start with 1 + 1 =2. Then they breed and you get 3 -- another female. Then each of the two females has a rabbit and you now have 5. The series then advances to 8. Essentially the series is calculated by adding the last two elements of the series to get the new one. 1,1,2,3,5,8,13,21,34,56 etc.

This turns out to be a significant number in the architecture of nature and the universe. The Fibonacci series converges on the Golden Ratio or the Golden Mean. This is the ratio that results in the spiral of a nautilus shell. The Golden Ratio is also pleasing to the eye, and even the ancient Greeks knew this and used it in building the Parthenon.

Fibonacci series and the Golden mean are rife in nature. The double spiral of sunflower seeds in the flower is a consecutive Fibonacci number. Fibonacci numbers are seen in the branching of trees, the fruitlets of a pineapple, the uncurling of a fern and the arrangement of a pine cone.
So when I saw the straw market baskets spiral, I immediately thought that here was another application of the Fibonnaci series -- basketweaving.

I decided to test out the theory by chopping the photos and measuring the average pixel size of the basket curve. Then I would take the resultant series and see if it were a Fibonacci series. My series actually went like this: 66, 116, 200, 272, 278, 344, 409. The Golden Ratio settles in around 1.618 ....
I got excited when the ratio between the first two numbers was 1.76. Then it dropped to 1.72 -- all of the time edging closer to 1.618 -- the Golden Mean. I was vastly disappointed when the third ratio dropped to 1.36. Thinking that this was just an error -- the exception that proves the point, I continued. The next calculation was even lower and further away from the Golden Mean. It was 1.02.
I realized that basketweaving was not connected to the universe in a mystical way. It was a deep disappointment, because if basketweaving had demonstrated a Fibonacci series, I could have fulfilled the dream of every liberal arts student -- getting a PhD in Basketweaving.

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